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Research Spotlight: Kristina DePue

What basic questions does your research seek to answer?

How do we change? That question is essentially what drives me to continue perusing research to find the answers to help people trying to make difficult life depuedecisions. My research goals are motivated by my clinical observations within the addictions counseling field, which has resulted in two research areas focused on change: (a) chemical and process addictions, specifically concentrating on the trajectory of recovery; and (b) counselor development and supervision, focusing on how both counseling trainees and clients change.

What makes your work interesting?

Change is part of life, and we all experience change in various degrees constantly. Change can be small, like switching to a different coffee brand, but change can also be big, like quitting smoking or starting a new job. All change includes some type of decision making, and what drives people to make major life changes is not only fascinating, but lies at the core of the helping profession. As an addictions counselor, my goal is to help people change behaviors. My scholarly work related to addictions began as my master’s thesis at Vanderbilt University, which was a qualitative study on the bottoming out experience (BOE) in addiction.

The change process is fundamental in understanding how people move from being a substance user to a non-substance user and includes both internal and external factors. The BOE is a construct commonly found within the addiction literature related to change; yet, the clinical reality and importance of this experience is relatively unknown. For my dissertation, I continued my research by expanding on the notion of BOEs as the culmination of negative experiences, rather than a one-time event, within the trajectory of addiction, and how these negative experiences relate to change at the intake level. Using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) with a large, existing database, results demonstrated clear patterns between mental health, social, environmental, and substance use factors.

What are you currently working on?

I have spent the last two years bolstering the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) on the BOE, which I am in the final stages of publication preparation. In addition, I used these CFA results to write a collaborative NIH grant, which will be revised and resubmitted this year. The next steps in this line of work will focus on whether negative experiences within the BOE are predictive of recovery, as well as the mediating role of change factors (e.g., motivation, awareness, support, and coping) on change, as well as the moderating effects of gender, age, and drug of choice. This contribution will be significant because it will lay a research-based foundation to develop therapeutic approaches based on gender, age, and drug of choice utilizing the complex causal associations between negative experiences and change within the trajectory of addiction, with the ultimate goal of predicting long-term recovery factors.

In addition to the trajectory of addiction, due to the timely nature of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in sports, I became intrigued on how mTBI, substance use, and cognition (i.e., decision making) might work together to impact the lives of current and former athletes, specifically aiming to understand how counseling may be able to impact change in this population. Currently, we are collecting the final set of pilot data and will apply for NSF funding this August to extend the project to veterans and emergency room victims. I have also formed collaborative relationships with the McKnight Brain Institute and was asked to join the university-wide Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program (TBIRP) group with a future goal of a NIH P01, from which the College of Education will have a R01 under the mechanism.

Lastly, college students are particularly vulnerable to addiction, and UF is fortunate to be the only college in the state of Florida that is a member of the Association for Recovery in Higher Education, which aims to help college students who want to make the change from addictive substances and behaviors or find support in a program of recovery. As a Board Member for UF’s Collegiate Recovery Community, I am working on nationwide collaborations to write a NIH grant for program evaluation of Collegiate Recovery Programs across the United States.

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Research Spotlight: Nicholas Gage

Nicholas Gage

What basic questions does your research seek to answer?

My specific research interests focus on the application and advancement of diverse research methods and statistical procedures in special education research broadly, but an emphasis on research addressing the needs of students with or at-risk for emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Specifically, I am interested in identifying policies and practices at the national, state, local, and classroom level to support the academic, social, and behavioral needs of students with or at-risk for emotional and/or behavioral disorders.

To that end, my questions focus on malleable factors predictive of positive student outcomes. For example, can teachers increase their use of evidence-based classroom management strategies and do those strategies improve student classroom behavior? Relatedly, I focus on the measurement of both teacher strategy use and student behavior using direct observation procedures to ensure accurate and reliable estimates of both teacher and student behaviors. Further, I believe that collaboration among researchers in the field of special education is critical to moving our science forward, and I actively seek partnership opportunities that allow me to lend my research and methodological expertise to existing content experts.

What makes your work interesting?

My work aims to improve student behavior (both academic and social), which is among the leading reasons teachers leave the profession. By identifying what works and helping teachers efficiently and effectively implement effective practices, we can significantly improve the experiences of both teachers and students. Personally, what drives my research and what I find most interesting is figuring out why I turned out so different from the students I support. Growing up, I experienced many of the predictors of emotional and/or behavioral disorders, including high poverty, limited adult supervision, and a desire to escape. What drives my research is the need to know why I did not end up like so many others, why I did not get suspended, expelled, or dropout of school.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on improving teachers’ classroom management using a multi-tiered professional development model. In addition, I am working with two senior research teams at other institutions identify the most salient classroom and behavior management strategies based on large data sets of direct observations of teachers. In addition, I continue to provide statistical support for a number of early literacy initiatives and am currently evaluating Project ADePT in the School of Teaching and Learning. Lastly, I continue to develop and teach the only meta-analysis course at the University of Florida, attracting students from across multiple colleges at UF.

US ED Issues Guidance on Leveraging Federal Funding to Support STEM Education

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has released guidance on how federal formula grant programs such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act can support innovative Pre-K-12 STEM education strategies to improve instruction and student outcomes, especially for historically underserved students.

In a Dear Colleague letter to states, school districts, schools, and education partners, the ED outlined examples of allowable uses of federal funds that can support the expansion of STEM experiences to improve student achievement in the 2016-17 school year. The examples include recommendations for both supporting educators and improving access for students in STEM disciplines. Specifically, the examples fall into three categories:

  1. Increase students’ equitable access to STEM courses and experiences, including out-of-school programs, STEM-themed schools and career pathways.
  2. Support educators’ knowledge and expertise in STEM disciplines through recruitment, preparation, support, and retention strategies.
  3. Increase student access to materials and equipment needed to support inquiry-based pedagogy and active learning.

View the Dear Colleague letter on the ED website.

Excerpted from the April 13, 2016 ED press release U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance for Schools on Leveraging Federal Funding to Support STEM Education

NIH Finalizes Grant Application Changes

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is completing the final phase of policy and guidance changes effective on or after May 25, 2016. Any application due on or after May 25, 2016 must use the new FORMS-D application package.

Along with the new FORMS-D application is a completely revised application guide. For complete application instructions, see How to Apply–Application Guide, Forms Version D instructions for due dates on or after May 25, 2016.

Included in the changes are new requirements for the Biographical Sketch format.

For a complete summary of the changes, see Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-004.

For questions, please contact ufproposals@ufl.edu or your DSP Unit-Based Team.

Reminder: IES Announces Reading, Writing, and Language Development Grant Writing Webinars Overview

Researchers interested in reading, writing, and language development are invited to participate in a one-session webinar, IES Reading, Writing, and Language Development Grant Writing Overview. The webinar will be held on May 12, 2016, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (EDT) and is hosted by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) research centers — the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER).

This webinar provides a general overview of the Reading and Writing (NCER) and Reading, Writing, and Language Development (NCSER) grant topics and general strategies and suggestions for successful application writing. The grant topics are the Institute’s primary programs aimed at supporting research on improving literacy outcomes for students, including English learners and those with disabilities or who are at risk for disabilities or academic failure.

Registration for this webinar closed on May 5, 2016.

For more information on the Institute’s FY 2017 Requests for Applications, visit the IES website.

If you have any questions about the webinar, please contact Rebecca McGill-Wilkinson in NCER at (202) 245-7613, Kimberley Sprague in NCSER at (202) 245-8464, or Sarah Brasiel in NCSER at (202) 245-6734.

Redesigned UFIT Training Website Is Live

The newly redesigned UFIT Training website provides a completely reorganized view of technology training at UF, with an extensive catalog of workshops and webinars as well as on-demand tutorials and resources for faculty and staff.

All of UFIT’s training materials and workshop information is now housed in one place, rather than on individual departmental websites. Everything is thoroughly cataloged and easily searchable. Faculty and staff can quickly access resources and browse the ever-expanding workshops and tutorials list.

The new UFIT Training website includes more than 100 UF-developed tutorials and workshops, an e-Learning FAQ section, interactive registration calendar and one-click login for free access to lynda.com with its 4,300+ training videos.

Registration and information for the free Microsoft IT Academy are also provided on the website.

For more information about any of the services listed, please email ufit-training@ufl.edu or call (352) 273-1594.

Faculty Search Tutorial Has Been Updated

The Office of the Provost and Human Resource Services have launched an updated version of the Faculty Search Tutorial (PVO800) course. The purpose of this course is to provide guidelines and resources for committee members when participating in the search process for new faculty members.

This updated version focuses on practical information that is broken down by processes while providing just-in-time materials in the companion toolkit, including examples of job descriptions, evaluation matrices, and behavior-based interview questions. The resources found in the toolkit are useful for search committee members as well as support staff assisting during the search.

While faculty and staff are encouraged to take the updated version, those having recently completed the course need not retake it—this can be done when it is time to renew your certification.

Questions or concerns? Contact UF Recruitment and Staffing at (352) 392-2477 or employment@ufl.edu.

UF Office of Research Announces Launch of Research Training Utility

Based on feedback received from researchers, the UF Office of Research has developed a tool enabling users to identify the mandatory training needed to conduct research at UF. The tool generates a list of mandatory trainings that need to be completed, in response to a brief series of questions designed to identify your research activities.

The tool is located at http://research.ufl.edu/rtu.html. Feedback is welcome at any time.

Please contact rtu@research.ufl.edu with questions or for additional information.

UFIRST Has Been Updated with FY17 Proposed Fringe Rates

FY17 proposed fringe rates should be used in all proposal submissions, beginning Friday, April 22, 2016. UFIRST budgeting tools have been updated with the FY17 proposed fringe rates and will automatically calculate the fringe benefit amount needed for each individual included in the budget.

The employee salary groups and corresponding FY17 proposed benefit rates can be found on the UF Office of Research Costing Information website.

The FY17 proposed fringe rates are subject to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approval.  Once approved FY17 fringe rates will be effective July 1, 2016.

If you have any questions, you may contact DSP at ufproposals@ufl.edu.

Awarded Projects for April 2016

College of Education
Awarded Projects
April 2016
Principal Investigator: Dennis Kramer (SHDOSE)
Co-PI: Justin Ortagus (SHDOSE)
Funding Agency: Association for Institutional Research
Project Title: Loan Reduction and Graduate School Enrollment: The Impact of Pell and No-Loan Programs on Post-Baccalaureate Enrollment Choices of Low-Income Students
Project Period: 3/1/2016 – 2/28/2017
Award Amount: $46,693

 

Submitted Projects for April 2016

College of Education
Submitted Projects
April 2016
Principal Investigator: Joseph Gagnon (SSESPECS)
Co-PI: N/A
Funding Agency: William T. Grant Foundation
Proposal Title: Linking Education/Special Education and Juvenile Justice Research and Policy: Supporting Youth At-Risk and Involved with Juvenile Corrections
Requested Amount: $175,302
Principal Investigator: Philip Poekert (Lastinger Center for Learning)
Co-PI: N/A
Funding Agency: Duval County
Proposal Title: Duval County Certified Coaching
Requested Amount: $158,176